Def­i­nitely Alive and still kick­ing

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE ’N’ LOUD -

FOR a young Aussie band, Tonight Alive have amassed a vast col­lec­tion of war sto­ries. They emerged five years ago from their par­ents’ sub­ur­ban garages as a fully formed melodic punk group and were signed to an in­ter­na­tional record­ing deal as teenagers.

The five-piece pur­sued an in­ter­na­tional tour­ing sched­ule off the back of their de­but al­bum, What Are You So Scared Of, which would have burned out those with less am­bi­tion and stamina.

There were days with­out a de­cent meal, sub­sist­ing on a per diem that would prob­a­bly put them be­low min­i­mum wage. Then there was a man­age­ment switch and front­woman Jenna McDougall was struck down with a de­bil­i­tat­ing bout of eczema.

This year, with the re­lease of a sec­ond record, The Other Side, their sched­ule isn’t any less hec­tic, but Tonight Alive seem hap­pier about their lot in life.

McDougall and band­mates Whakaio Taahi, Jake Hardy, Cam Adler and Matt Best are head­ing home for the re­turn of the Vans Warped fes­ti­val.

Warped has proven a happy hunt­ing ground for Tonight Alive in the US and there is a sense of pride they have been cho­sen for this lo­cal leg of the fes­ti­val along­side By­ron Bay world-beat­ers Park­way Drive and in­ter­na­tion­als The Off­spring, Sim­ple Plan, New Found Glory and The Used.

The tour will see them re­turn to Coffs Har­bour where they recorded The Other Side.

‘‘We had this mas­sive house and it turned out to have the best drum room we have ever seen,’’ Taahi says.

The go­ing got tougher when Taahi re­turned to the house to com­plete record­ing while his band­mates en­joyed them­selves at the Sound­wave fes­ti­val.

‘‘The whole area was hit with the big­gest mon­soon and the power went out for four days,’’ he re­calls.

‘‘Some­how they found a gen­er­a­tor. We had to put petrol in it ev­ery two hours and turn the stu­dio off so we could power the fridge.’’

McDougall at­tributes the shifts in sound be­tween al­bums to ‘‘grow­ing up’’.

‘‘I was 16 when we first started as a band and now I’m 21, which is a mas­sive grow­ing-up pe­riod for any­body,’’ she says.

‘‘The band is the only thing any of us have known in our lives so that’s why this record feels so per­sonal.’’

While Tonight Alive are lauded in the rock scenes of Europe and the US, Taahi says main­tain­ing mo­men­tum back home has been tough. There aren’t as many venues, fes­ti­vals or ra­dio sta­tions ded­i­cated to their genre as there are over­seas.

‘‘Things are start­ing to change but it has been hard to get any kind of ma­jor sup­port or ra­dio play,’’ he says.

– Pic­ture: KANE HIB­BERD

‘‘Triple M just picked us up but Triple J never did. It’s tough for a young home-grown act to get heard.’’

– KATHY McCABE

The Other Side (Sony) is out now. The Off­spring, Park­way Drive, Sim­ple Plan, Tonight Alive and more play Vans Warped, at the RNA Show­grounds, Bris­bane, tomorrow.

Tonight Alive cel­e­brate their home­com­ing for Vans Warped.

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